WWE Greatest Royal Rumble overshadowed by controversy of no female stars

All of the female roster were left in the United States 

Matty Paddock
Saturday 28 April 2018 10:02
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Braun Strowman was left standing tall as the winner of WWE’s Saudi Arabia extravaganza, The Greatest Royal Rumble.

The event was headlined by a 50-man Royal Rumble match – the biggest ever in WWE history – and Strowman, one of Monday Night Raw’s top stars, outlasted 49 other stars to win the match, which featured Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, The Great Khali and many more. Daniel Bryan continued his fairytale return to the ring with an epic shift lasting close to 70 minutes, but was the penultimate star eliminated at the show’s climax.

A crowd in excess of 50,000 got to see all of the company’s top male talent during a five-hour show and were definitely entertained – but the general reaction closer to home was that the epic was unable to shake off the controversy surrounding the lack of female stars - such a huge part of WWE's product - that weighed it down throughout much of the last week.

There were seven titles matches and none of the championships being defended changed hands, leaving the event feeling a little more like an extravagant house show – no bout running much over 15 minutes. There were new Raw tag team champions crowned as Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt claimed gold, but those titles were vacant – whereas The Bludgeon Brothers, Seth Rollins, Cedric Alexander and Jeff Hardy were all among the wrestlers to retain on the night – Rollins’ effort probably the best of that match as he showed cat-like agility to snatch victory from the hands of Finn Balor.

The two main championship matches featured Brock Lesnar defending the Universal title against Roman Reigns in a steel cage and AJ Styles meeting Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Championship. Lesnar and Reigns was a better watch than their Wrestlemania effort earlier this month, though Lesnar kept hold of his crown thanks to a weak finish that saw him driven through the cage by Reigns before hitting the floor. Styles and Nakamura put on a solid match that was also a little dampened by its ending – a double count-out.

Elsewhere, The Undertaker returned in Saudi Arabia to dispense of Rusev in a casket match that was perfectly watchable. Taker’s return at Wrestlemania, unwanted by many after his strong send-off a year prior, left many feeling short-changed, but the Dead Man was back closer to his best against the Bulgarian Brute in an entertaining affair that saw both he and his partner, Aiden English, stuffed into the casket.

Triple H, at the centre of much of the week’s controversy that saw the company’s female roster forced to remain in the States, kicked off the match in a losing effort against John Cena.

WWE GREATEST ROYAL RUMBLE RESULTS

Bruan Strowman won the Greatest Royal Rumble match

Universal Champion Brock Lesnar DEF. Roman Reigns

The Undertaker DEF Rusev

WWE Champion AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura ended in a draw.

Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins DEF. Fin Balor, Samoa Joe and The Miz

Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Bludgeon Brothers DEF. The Usos

United States Champion Jeff Hardy DEF. Jinder Mahal

Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy DEF The Bar – New Raw tag team champions

Cruiserweight Champion Cedric Alexander DEF. Kalisto

John Cena DEF. Triple H

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